March 13, 2012

Guinness & Dubliner Cheese Soup

guinness dubliner soup

I wanted to share a savory recipe for St. Patrick's Day along with my mint chocolate cookie bars, not because I think a lot of people cook something festive on March 17th, but because it was an excuse to cook with beer, which I've been learning is great in recipes!

It took me a very long time to like beer, but I've now reached the point where I choose craft beer over most other drinks. I started with pale ales and Belgian beers, then finally learned to appreciate hops, but am still trying to enjoy dark beers and stouts. Guinness is probably one of the last beers I would choose to drink, but one of the first beers I'd choose for cooking! It adds great depth to chocolate desserts, and now I've learned that it's also great in savory recipes like this soup.

While most cheese and beer soups are made with cheddar cheese and a pale ale, I wanted to make mine more Saint Patricksy (yes that's a word) by using Dubliner cheese and Guinness stout. According to Wikipedia, Dubliner cheese "combines the sharpness of mature cheddar, the nuttiness of Swiss cheese, and the bite of Parmesan", and it also melts well, so I thought it would be great in a Guinness cheese soup. If you can't find it though, any sharp cheddar cheese should work well.

The first time I made this, I actually used some Guinness cheddar cheese that I'd found on sale. It definitely gave the soup a strong Guinness flavour that was really complex and interesting, but you'd have to be a big Guinness lover to enjoy the soup! Yesterday I tried it with the Dubliner cheese and it was much milder and the Guinness was much harder to detect, which I liked. The soup is cheesy, thick, and comforting, without actually being too unhealthy compared to other cheese soups because it uses milk instead of cream and I cut the amount of cheese way down since I was using a strong tasting cheese. This was an easy dinner to prepare and Ryan and I both really loved it. Ryan wished there was a bit more of a Guinness flavour, so I suggested that you could probably add a splash of Guinness at the end if you want the stout taste to be stronger, since a lot of it gets cooked down earlier on.

This soup would be perfect for St. Patrick's Day, but I will actually be missing it this year, because as I write this post, I'm at the airport waiting to board a flight to Singapore! I'll be away for a couple weeks, spending most of my time at a research conference in Singapore, then escaping to Thailand for just a few days of real vacation before I head back home. I still hope to find time to post a couple times while I'm away, but if I'm slow to reply to comments or visit other blogs, I apologize in advance!

guinness dubliner soup

Guinness & Dubliner Cheese Soup

Adapted from Rick Tramonto and Williams Sonoma

Serves 2


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 rib of celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Guinness stout (or more for stronger flavour)
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth (beef broth would be a good substitute!)
1 cup milk
1-1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce
1-1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
1/4 pound (or 1 cup loosely packed shredded) Dubliner cheese (or sharp cheddar cheese if desired)
Salt and pepper


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot and cook until softened, stirring often, about 15-20 minutes. If vegetables start to brown too quickly (before they’re softened), add a splash of chicken broth to the pan. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the flour and cook, stirring occasionally, about 3-4 minutes. Add the beer and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture will be very thick and sticky at this point. Add the chicken broth, milk, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard powder, and let simmer over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The soup will thicken and reduce slightly as it simmers.

Remove the pot from the heat and transfer soup mixture to a blender. Make sure the blender is only about 1/3 to 1/2 full and remove the centre piece of the lid to allow steam to escape (but cover with a cloth or towel to avoid splatters). Puree until smooth, then transfer back to the pot.

With the pot over medium-low heat, add the shredded cheese by the handful, stirring constantly until cheese is melted and soup is smooth. Taste, and if a stronger Guinness flavour is desired, add a splash of beer to the soup before serving. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.


  1. I started out drinking wheat beers and pilsners. Then went straight to ambers and IPA's. I'm really enjoying Pale Ale's now, and I'm trying to appreciate more porters.  It's hard for me to like stouts but i'm really trying! This soup looks excellent!

  2. Oh.... this looks so comforting. YUM!

  3. Thanks for this great recipe for St. Patrick's Day!  Enjoy your travels.

  4. OH BOY, I work at a cheese boutique when I'm at home and recommend Dubliner to everyone! It's so perfect. Where did you find it?! I am such a cheese mongerer.  Looks incredible.

  5. Love beer and cheese soup! :) There is a restaurant by my condo that sells a vegetarian onion soup made from one of my fav beers. It's a local beer called Little Scrapper by a local brewer Half Pints. You should see if you can find some Half Pints beers in your city :) The soup is so rich with the dark beer and caramelized onions. And then topped with Quebec oka cheese. Holy. Amazing. This soup reminds me of that soup! Must try this recipe :)

  6. Have a great trip!!

    I'm still not a big beer drinker but I love baked goods and savory foods with beer in weird. This soup sounds amazing.  Just the kind of comfort food you need to soak up all that excess alcohol on St. Paddy's day.

  7. Oh yum, anything with alcohol and cheese is perfect!

    You are welcome to join in my food blogger event THE SOUP KITCHEN, here all bloggers are welcome, hope to see you participate soon.

  8. Beer cheese and soft pretzels are my favorite bar food appetizer. I've never made it into a full on soup before...but must!

  9.  This was actually my first time trying it and I loved it!  I picked it up on a recent trip to the US (Port Huron, Michigan) in a Whole Foods, but I'm told it's available at grocery stores here in Ontario too.  I'm sure it's more expensive in Canada though - the one I picked up was under 3 dollars!

  10. Sounds like we have pretty similar tastes .. It's funny that a year or two ago I used to spit out IPAs that Ryan would make me try and now I actually appreciate the bitterness!

  11. I don't think I've ever seen Half Pints beer but I'll keep an eye out ... That soup sounds delicious too!

  12.  Thanks Joanne!  I love how beer can very subtly add depth of flavour to food, I haven't experimented much with using different types of beer in cooking but I really should!

  13. That is a tasty looking soup and I am liking the Guinness in it!

  14. Okay, I love Guinness and I love Dubliner cheese, so clearly I would love this soup. :) It looks wonderful!

  15. Made the soup last night, and while the flavor was great, for some reason the cheese wouldn't incorporate really.  It was grainy, and separated kinda bad.  I followed the instructions, and it's my first time trying to make soup, so I have no clue how I messed it up.  Any ideas?  Would love to try it again without messing it up, just not sure what I did wrong with the cheese.

  16. Sorry to hear that!  When adding cheese to soup, you should make sure it's very finely grated so it will incorporate quickly, and also make sure you give it lots of time to come to room temperature first.  The cheese should be added over low heat and whisked constantly and quickly to incorporate it .. you could even remove the pan from the burner if the soup is hot enough and just let the heat of the soup melt the cheese, as heat that is too high could be making the cheese curdle or separate like that.  Hope that helps!

  17. If you were using bagged, pre-shredded cheese, that may be your problem. That kind of cheese is treated with starches to keep it from clumping and sticking together while it hangs on the peg at the store (ever noticed how it has a powdery feel to it?) and those starches will mess with the texture of your soup.


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